By Merle Exit
A backdrop of the United Nations could not have been more perfect for the Queensboro Dance Festival at the Hunter’s Point Park waterfront. Dance soloists and groups representing a variety of countries performed July 19-20 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to an audience of passersby that gathered.
“It’s such a beautiful setting, especially as the sun goes down, and it adds a magical sense of freedom for the dancers,” said Karesia Batan, executive director of a dance company known as The Physical Plant. “We are so excited to see how dance draws people in, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to make the public aware of Queens-based dance.”
Queensboro Dance Festival is an annual six-month series of public performances throughout the borough, with events provided by the Queens dance community. They represent dance across all cultures, neighborhoods and styles. Music fills the air and costumes fills the eyes.
The July 19 performance had a totally different cast than on Thursday. Claf Dance Project dancers Britni Lariviere, Dana Mazurowski, Spencer Pond, Katie Schenker, and Lauren Turley presented a premiere piece entitled, “They burned my eyes,” choreographed by Christopher LaFleche.
Text of a poem entitled “Nasty Woman,” written by 19-year-old Nina Donovan, and performed by Ashley Dudd, was the background for dance company Sheep Meadow Dance Theatre. It is also known as “FEARLESS.” Choreographed by Billy Blanken, the dancers were Julia Cooper, Ellen Mihalick, Katie Norton-Bliss, Savannah Rose and Danielle Shupe.
Belly dancing was the mode for Noora Dance Company’s “Yearning.” Music by Raul Ferrando sparked dancers Stephany, Almaz and Noora Aphrodite.
Jackie Nowichi Company gave us a soloist, Dana Mazurowski, performing “As the Sand Falls.”
Xiang Xu Dance Theater featured soloist Xiang Xu with a piece called “In Between,” with music by Sadie Soohyun Cho.
Karesia provided the audience with excerpts from “Currents II,” which she choreographed. Dancers Marissa Frey, Ezra Goh, Bethany Logan, and Lauren Slivosky performed to the music of Live Footage.
Attendance was larger the following day. Karesia said that it was probably due to the fact that Thursdays are a little busier.
“There is more park pedestrian traffic and the cast size was larger, so there were a few more fans, and people had heard of us from the evening before and either came back out or brought more people.”
The Queensboro Dance Festival is now in its fourth year, and expanded to the waterfront starting last year. The season continues with free dance classes, networking events, and discounted rehearsal space for the festival participants.
“The season ends with our fall run at the Secret Theatre in LIC Oct. 5-8,” said Karesia.